Tripti Joshi (Editor)

Hula Girls

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
1 Ratings
Rate This

Rate This

Director  Lee Sang-il
Initial DVD release  April 2012 (Italy)
Language  Japanese
7.2/10 IMDb

Genre  Comedy, Drama
Music director  Jake Shimabukuro
Country  Japan
Hula Girls movie poster

Release date  September 23, 2006
Writer  Sang-il Lee, Daisuke Habara
Initial release  September 23, 2006 (Japan)
Cast  Yasuko Matsuyuki (Madoka Hirayama), Etsushi Toyokawa (Yojiro Tanikawa), Yu Aoi (Kimiko Tanikawa), Shizuyo Yamasaki (Sayuri Kumano), Shoko Ikezu, Eri Tokunaga (Sanae Kimura)
Similar movies  Interstellar, Independence Day, Cassandra's Dream, The Great Gatsby, A Mighty Heart, Kung Fu Panda 2
Tagline  They danced their way into the hearts of a nation.

Hula girls trailer with english subtitles

Hula Girls (フラガール, Fura gāru) is a Japanese film, directed by Sang-il Lee and co-written by Lee and Daisuke Habara, and first released across Japanese theaters on September 23, 2006. Starring Yū Aoi, Yasuko Matsuyuki, Etsushi Toyokawa, Shizuyo Yamazaki, Ittoku Kishibe, Eri Tokunaga, Yoko Ikezu and Sumiko Fuji, it is based on the real-life event of how a group of enthusiastic girls take on hula dancing to save their small mining village, Iwaki, helping the formation of Joban Hawaiian Center (now known as Spa Resort Hawaiians), which was later to become one of Japan's most popular theme parks. It received its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.


Hula Girls movie scenes

Hula Girls was critically acclaimed upon release in Japan and nominated for a total of 12 awards at the 2007 Japan Academy Awards, going on to win five major awards, including that of best film, best director, best screenplay, best supporting actress (for Yū Aoi), and most popular film. It also won two major awards at the 80th Kinema Junpo awards, including that of best film and best supporting actress (for Yū Aoi). Since its release in Japan, the film has been shown across theaters and film festivals worldwide.

Hula Girls movie scenes

hula girls movie trailer


Hula Girls Hula Girls AsianWiki

In 1965, the cold, northern coal mining town of Iwaki, was facing unemployment due to oil becoming the predominant energy resource in Japan.

Hula Girls Hula Girls myweeklyfascination

The mining company develops a plan to use hot springs, which seeped into the mines, to provide heat for a Hawaiian Center spa resort. The plan is greeted with hostility by the miners, but the company recruits Madoka Hirayama (Matsuyuki) a down-on-her-luck dance instructor from Tokyo to train local girls in the hula.

Hula Girls wwwgstaticcomtvthumbdvdboxart171938p171938

At first, only a small core group take the challenge. Sanae (Tokunaga) is worried that her widowed father will lose his job, and the ability to support the four kids. She convinces her lifelong best friend Kimiko (Aoi) to join her at the disastrous first meeting. After the rumor runs through attendees that they will be dancing topless, Sanae and Kimiko seem to be the only two listening to the assurances that the rumor is false, as dozens of their companions flee. The two girls are joined by Hatsuko (Ikezu), the organizer's secretary, and Sayuri (Yamazaki), a large clumsy girl.

Things go poorly as training begins, and a frustrated Hirayama nearly gives up, until the girls' enthusiasm persuades her to give the plan another try.

Kimiko and her mother, Chiyo (Fuji), have an argument, which prompts the girl to leave home to stay at the school, but as training continues and local unemployment looms, some of the other girls come back and join the school.

On the day that Sanae's father is fired, he comes home to find her in Hawaiian costume, and beats her. This outrages Hirayama, who attacks him. When he leaves, Sanae goes with him to take care of her siblings, after getting Kimiko, who has become the leader of the girls, to promise that she will keep going.

Crushed by the departure of her friend, Kimiko finds it impossible to maintain the focus needed in dancing, but is told the show must go on. She does not accept this until her brother (Toyokawa) tells her to see it through. She pulls herself together in time to join the publicity tour.

After a disastrous first performance in the tour, the girls come together as a team and the tour is a great success, until a mine accident in which Sayuri's father is caught. Told of the accident just before the last planned performance, the troupe prepares to leave for home. Knowing that her father wants her to succeed, Sayuri begs for the chance to finish the tour. The bus pulls into town hours after Sayuri's father dies, and as distraught family and friends berate her, Hirayama claims responsibility for not returning immediately, accepting another failure in her career. Her students, however, refuse to let her leave.

However, the imported palm trees are threatened by cold weather. A package from Sanae arrives for Kimiko. Her mother, Chiyo, brings it to the dance studio, where she sees the skills her daughter has gained. Chiyo collects stoves to give her daughter the chance to live her dream. She even attends the opening night of the show, at which Kimiko wears the flower sent by Sanae.

The opening show is a great success, establishing the Joban Hawaiian Center as a tourist destination.

  • Fukushima Prefecture
  • Iwaki
  • Furudono, Ishikawa District
  • Spa Resort Hawaiians (actual spa resort located in Iwaki)
  • Ibaraki Prefecture
  • Kitaibaraki
  • Takahagi
  • Nakaminato Station (located in Hitachinaka)
  • Awards

    Hula Girls won several awards upon release, including five major awards at the 2007 Japan Academy Awards, including that of best film, best director, best screenplay, best supporting actress (for Yū Aoi), and most popular film. It also won best film and supporting actress award (for Yū Aoi) at the 80th Kinema Junpō awards, held on January 9, 2007. At the 31st Hōchi Film Awards, held on November 28, 2006, it won the awards for best film and supporting actress, while at the 19th Nikkan Sports Awards, held on December 5, 2006, it won the awards for best film, best actress (for Yasuko Matsuyuki), best supporting actress (for Sumiko Fuji) and best new talent (for Yū Aoi). At the 61st Mainichi Film Awards, held on January 19, 2007, it won the awards for best supporting actress (for Yū Aoi) and best film. At the 49th Blue Ribbon Awards, it won the awards for best film, best actress (for Yū Aoi) and best supporting actress (for Sumiko Fuji). It was also chosen for Japan's entry for the 79th Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.


    Hula Girls Wikipedia
    Hula Girls IMDb Hula Girls